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Uriel

To the 1Ls, on the occasion of their first exams

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Just a little more heart-warmingness in case the last bit has gone stale.

 

The conclusion of the story is that I had a flat C in December of 1L at U of T, a C+ when exams came back, and eventually graduated within a hair's breadth of an A average over all of 3L. In my last month, I had professors offering to write me reference letters for the Yale SJD.

 

You can start slow and still finish happy. I promise. If worse comes to worst on these exams --- and they won't! --- don't fall into an existential funk. Mourn for a bit but keep on going; you will get the hang of it.

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Does the same apply to upper years? I'm a transfer student and I'm feeling awful nervy waiting for exam results.....

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I'm Really starting to wonder. My exams came back

Con: C

Torts: C

Contract: B-

Crim: C+

LLP: Waiting and worry as this is a final still I have a B+ on the midterm

I don't know I thinking what happen very low marks and I know if I don't get better marks I could not be advanced L2 very worried :( :(

reading this makes be hope as it looks like organization and writing rather then law skills

Edited by serdog

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Just a little more heart-warmingness in case the last bit has gone stale.

 

The conclusion of the story is that I had a flat C in December of 1L at U of T, a C+ when exams came back, and eventually graduated within a hair's breadth of an A average over all of 3L. In my last month, I had professors offering to write me reference letters for the Yale SJD.

 

You can start slow and still finish happy. I promise. If worse comes to worst on these exams --- and they won't! --- don't fall into an existential funk. Mourn for a bit but keep on going; you will get the hang of it.

 

You mean you had a C+ average in your first year, and then a CGPA of almost an A average by the time you graduated?

 

Serdog: I'm starting to wonder as well. I, too, didn't do so well on midterms: a B- was my highest grade. So now that it's finals time, of course I'm freaking out thinking what will happen if I get Cs in all my classes. :( :(

 

Is it okay to do badly in 1L? Can 2 and 3L grades make up for it??

I mean, I'm not expecting to get an OCI obviously if my finals remain the same as my midterms-- but do want an articling job after 3rd year.

Edited by nee

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The vast majority of law students who want articling positions get them in one way or another. Some don't get them until 3rd year, but you'll find something as long as you're willing to be flexible.

 

The importance of 1L grades can't be overstated though. Your life will be much easier if you do well.

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You mean you had a C+ average in your first year, and then a CGPA of almost an A average by the time you graduated?

 

Nope. "C+" average in first term, GPA of almost "A" in 3L. CGPA of a high "B+" overall.

 

I think the confusion comes from my shorthand there --- at U of T you get a paper or two back before you get your first-term grades in January. My first paper was a "C", so that was all I had to go on over the holidays. Not fun! I found out it came up to a "C+" "when exams came back" in January. Still not fun.

 

U of T first-term exams are failsafes. The B+ overall was attainable because the first term largely didn't count for me. My point isn't that the first exams don't count, but that you shouldn't feel that all is lost if you do poorly in your first term. You can and will get better at law as you go along. I wouldn't have thought, with my "C" and then "C+" average in December term 2008 that I would have an "A" average in April term 2011. So, screw your courage to the sticking-place!

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Nope. "C+" average in first term, GPA of almost "A" in 3L. CGPA of a high "B+" overall.

 

I think the confusion comes from my shorthand there --- at U of T you get a paper or two back before you get your first-term grades in January. My first paper was a "C", so that was all I had to go on over the holidays. Not fun! I found out it came up to a "C+" "when exams came back" in January. Still not fun.

 

U of T first-term exams are failsafes. The B+ overall was attainable because the first term largely didn't count for me. My point isn't that the first exams don't count, but that you shouldn't feel that all is lost if you do poorly in your first term. You can and will get better at law as you go along. I wouldn't have thought, with my "C" and then "C+" average in December term 2008 that I would have an "A" average in April term 2011. So, screw your courage to the sticking-place!

 

Ah! Well, congrats-- that's a stellar CGPA!

 

The first term largely doesn't count here either. Or, well, everybody always says it doesn't matter too much if you do poorly in first semester. I'm just concerned about what will happen if my finals are a repeat show of my midterms.

 

We've had two exams already though, and I feel good about them-- just that anxiety about "what if I do poorly?" is still there.

I guess I just want somebody experienced to tell me that I'll be okay even if my final marks are as crappy as my midterms, and it's not time to drop out just yet and that there are still 2 years to go and those grades count too. Lol. Though obviously I'm trying my best, and hoping final grades won't be terrible, but law school exams still feel like a crapshoot sometimes and we won't find out till June!

Edited by nee

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Gave this another read it helped me feel a bit better. I felt terrible after my closed-book contracts exam...I've decided just not to worry about my graes at ths point. The one thing that has really helped me is to stick to my own rule of talking to no one in my class about an exam after it's been done. As a friend told me: "Inevitably, either you feel shitty from hearing about everything you messed up, or you make someone else feel shitty about all the things they missed".

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The one thing that has really helped me is to stick to my own rule of talking to no one in my class about an exam after it's been done.

 

Yeah, no matter how you think you did on an exam, this will just screw with your head. And there's nothing you can do about it after the fact, so it'll be eating at you for no reason. For some reason people really want to do it, though (I'm guilty of this too, but I always try to stop myself).

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On Wednesay, the second the exam ended, everyone got up and immediately turned to eachother and started comparing answers. I put my coat on and left the room ASAP, haha.

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On Wednesay, the second the exam ended, everyone got up and immediately turned to eachother and started comparing answers. I put my coat on and left the room ASAP, haha.

 

This is the WORST! It honestly serves no purpose, and is so anxiety-inducing. I have no idea why people do it. How you feel about an exam and what your friend wrote means very little when you're being graded on a curve.

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This is the WORST! It honestly serves no purpose, and is so anxiety-inducing. I have no idea why people do it. How you feel about an exam and what your friend wrote means very little when you're being graded on a curve.

 

One purpose is that I am in school to learn, and discussing the exam with my friends is one (albeit small) part of that. It doesn't affect my stress level, as I'm pretty much a no-stress individual, and I find a collective discussion/bitch fest over a beer or two to be totally fine.

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YMMV but I would strongly advise against post-exam discussions.

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A collective discussion over beer? We've gone from an autopsy to a necrophiliac orgy... A bitch fest can be cathartic but I don't find post-exam discussions very useful.

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My tip is to bring headphones to the exam, listen to music until the proctor starts reading instructions, then turn it on again immediately after the exam ends. I hate listening to people discuss exams right after the finish.

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One purpose is that I am in school to learn, and discussing the exam with my friends is one (albeit small) part of that. It doesn't affect my stress level, as I'm pretty much a no-stress individual, and I find a collective discussion/bitch fest over a beer or two to be totally fine.

 

It's good that you can handle that, but the vast majority of people will come away from those decisions more freaked out because of something that their friend put down that they didn't. In my experience, most people in law school aren't no-stress individuals (although I'm quite jealous that you are). And there's absolutely no point in dwelling on that until you get your mark back, because missing one issue probably won't dramatically affect your grade in any way (your friend probably missed an issue you spotted, for example).

 

Plus, by the time the exam is over, most people are in such a post-exam haze that they can't even accurately remember what they wrote anyway. I guess if you have your exam papers with you you can go through it with your friends after the exam, but I think for the average person would find that really painful. I'd definitely advise 1Ls not to do it since the nature of the curve is such that your position relative to the class is the only thing that matters for what grade you'll get (and let's be real, that's what most 1Ls care most about at this point, since it has such a huge bearing on future jobs and opportunities). Dwelling on things you missed on an exam you've already written is pointless and just takes up energy you could be using to study for the next one (although I'm currently dwelling right now...do as I say not as I do ;)).

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Discreetly speaking with a friend to compare answers is one thing - shouting across the room to your buddy about whether it was a subjective or objective mens rea 30 seconds after the exam ended while everyone is still packing up is another.

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